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How to Count Words in Google Sheets

Sometimes when working inside a spreadsheet like Google Sheets, you may want to know the word count.

There’s not a direct way to do this with a built-in feature like in Google Docs, however, we can accomplish this pretty easily with a few formulas.

In this tutorial, I will show you how to word count in Google Sheets.

Word Count of Cell

If you want to count the total number of words in a cell, you can use a combination of the COUNTA function and SPLIT functions to do this.

Here is the formula you can use to count the total number of words

=COUNTA(SPLIT(cell_reference,” “))

  • cell_reference – this is the cell reference that contains the words that you want to count.

Here is an example of how this can be used in your spreadsheet:

Word Count in Cell

The only drawback with this formula is that if you use it on a blank cell, it will still return a result of 1.

To control for blank cells, you can wrap the entire thing in an IF function, so that it returns nothing if the cell is blank.

To do that your formula would be:

=IF(cell_reference=””,””,COUNTA(SPLIT(cell_reference,” “)))

Here is an example of this:

Word Count Blank Cells

Notice how this first formula still returns a count of 1 if the cell is blank, but the second formula controls for this and will return an empty cell.

Word Count on Entire Column

If you need to do a word count on an entire column we can modify the previous formula with an ARRAYFORMULA and change the SPLIT function to split the entire range instead of just the cell.

Here is how the new formula would look:

=ARRAYFORMULA(COUNTA(SPLIT(cell_range,” “)))

  • cell_range – this is the range that contains the words that you want to count

Here is an example of how this would be used in a spreadsheet:

Word Count Column

The only drawback with this method is that blank cells will still count as 1 with this formula. We cannot control for blanks by adding an IF function like in the previous example, so you may want to sort out and remove your blank cells before using this to count the words in your spreadsheet.

Copying into Google Docs to Count Words

If you want a quick and easy solution for counting the words in your spreadsheet that doesn’t involve using a formula, you can copy and paste your cells into Google Docs and use the built-in word count in there.

Here is how to do this:

1. First highlight the range that contains the words you want to count and right-click and select Copy (or press Ctrl + C on your keyboard to copy)

Copy Word Count-1

2. Open up a blank Google Doc and right-click. Select Paste without formatting

Copy Word Count-2

3. You should now see all the words from your cells in your Google Doc. Go up to the top menu and select Tools>Word count

Copy Word Count-3

4. You should now see the word count of the data that you highlighted in step 1

Copy Word Count-4

Closing Thoughts

As with anything in Google Sheets, there are multiple ways to do things. And that is true for counting words as well.

I have shown several different methods for counting the words in your spreadsheet. You can use a formula to do this, but there are drawbacks to the formula methods because you need to control for blank cells.

Sometimes if you just need a quick word count, copying and pasting your data into a Google Doc is a good option.

More Google Sheets Tutorials:
How to Count Colored Cells
How to Count Cells with Specific Text
How to Use Checkbox